Refer-a-Friend (Updated 5/12)


Well-Known Member
Been thinking about something Sirk said about having trouble recruiting new players to fill out our pcount.

This is a golden-oldie Marketing Strategy used by companies all over the world to great success for getting and retaining new customers: refer-a-friend.

  1. Encourage players to recruit their friends to play on this server
  2. Encourage players to actively participate in new player retention by rewarding them when one of their new friends decides to stay.

  • User A successfully refers B when: B sets A as their sponsor, and then B either: completes a purchase in the store; OR ranks up to citizen. Technically speaking, this is computed on user B's end when they log in, set a sponsor, receive a store purchase, or rank up. Once they meet the criteria, then whomever they designate as a sponsor will get the credit and we flag user B as completed.
  • New /setsponsor <name> command so players can set who should get credit for referring them would need to be written. First time you enter the command, it should explain what it means to set a sponsor; and that once set this cannot be changed, etc... Entering the command again will permanently set your sponsor. If the user of this command is already a citizen, the sponsor is credited immediately.
  • New /referrals command so players can see how many referrals they've been credited with.
  • Sponsors are responsible for showing and helping referred players enter the /setsponsor command. =)

Use Case Stories
  • An existing player who predates the Refer-a-Friend can set their sponsor to whomever recruited them, or they can sell/trade it. This isn't really the most desired behavior, but its somewhat mitigated in that people can only sell it once, and the initial rush of people seeking referrals from established players will help raise awareness of the program.
  • A new player who arrives from seeing ads, or searching online can assign their sponsor to someone who helped them establish themselves on this server, or sell it for money. This may incentivize people to assist new players in hopes of receiving their referral, a desired behavior.
  • A new player who was recruited by someone can use it to reward the person who recruited them. This could incentivize people to recruit others (really the whole point, you know? =D )

Up to you, but offer the following suggestions:
  • Every referral should reward at least something (a day's worth of aquatic gemstones, or entry into a monthly drawing for something cool, etc), and milestones like 5, 10, 25, etc... can have larger rewards. You still get the per-referral reward even after completing the top tier milestone.
  • The very first referral should reward something visible and durable to spark interest in the program from ppl who don't read the announcement. Maybe a "Friendly" tag?
  • You will also want something unique, visible, and non-consumable for the top-tier reward. Top tier should be 100 or 250 or something in that ballpark, so it feels attainable, but still represents significant effort.
  • Consumables make great mid-tier rewards.
  • in-game money should NOT be among of the rewards for referral; but if you want to give discounts or credit in the store; that might trigger some purchase behavior from people looking to redeem those rewards.
How to tell if it's working:
At the end of the month search your DB for a the people who joined in the month previous and played at least 15 mins( so, at end of May, find the April guys that didn't just immediately log back off). Split them up by whether they have a sponsor or not; and then see who among them are still active (played in the last 7 days) The sponsor group should have a higher retention rate than the non-sponsors, and the difference between the two numbers is called "lift": its the rate at which Refer-a-friend is growing your player base above and beyond what it would have grown naturally.
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